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Gathering ban tightened, many venues to close again

2020-07-13 HKT 20:44
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  • Gathering ban tightened, many venues to close again
Face masks will be made mandatory for people taking public transport, various venues will be closed, and the number of people allowed to gather will be reduced sharply from 50 to four as part of tighter pandemic measures announced by the government on Monday evening.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said during a press conference that the measures will take effect on Wednesday.

She announced that 12 types of venues, including bars, cinemas and gyms, will be closed for up to seven days.

And to try to prevent the virus from spreading in restaurants, no dining in will be allowed from 6pm to 5am. Only take-aways will be allowed during that period.

But lunch-time arrangements would not be affected.

"If we are closing the entire catering business, not allowing breakfast and not allowing lunches, this would also be a big disruption, you know, to the community because we reckon there are also people going to work, therefore we think it is important for us to minimise the time people are spending on dining in," Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said.

And the number of people allowed at each table is capped at four.

The government has also announced the expansion of testing, covering employees of elderly care homes, restaurants and property management, as well as taxi drivers. That's expected to cover 400,000 people.

The administration is in talks with two labs in Shenzhen to carry out large-scale Covid-19 tests.

As for civil servants working from home, the government said it would not make this mandatory. But it made it clear that various departments have been told to implement flexible work and meal arrangements.

And as part of stronger cross-border measures, those flying to Hong Kong from high-risk areas will have to show they had tested negative before boarding the plane.

Lam said the tighter measures were made as the outbreak, which has worsened since the beginning of July, now covers many districts and trades, such as elderly care homes, taxi drivers and restaurants.

She said the entire city needs to work together to fight the outbreak.

"This is a time for tightening, which means that it will affect business, which means that people will become more inconvenient," Lam said.

"So I will have to appeal to people that I understand, I fully understand they want to go to the book fair, they want to go to the restaurant, they want to meet friends, but this is a time for us to put our act together in order to fight this latest re-emergence of cases."

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Last updated: 2020-07-13 HKT 22:08